Napoles, Ducut plead not guilty in Baterina’s PDAF case
MANILA — Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and her supposed bagman, Zenaida Ducut, have pleaded not guilty to the misuse of the pork barrel funds of former Ilocos Sur 1st
Dist. Rep. Salacnib Baterina in 2007.
Napoles and Ducut, along with seven other co-defendants, formally entered their not guilty pleas during their scheduled arraignment before the Sandiganbayan Second Division on Thursday.
Besides the two, also arraigned were the following officers of the now-defunct Technology and Livelihood Resource Center: former deputy director-general Dennis Cunanan, group managers Francisco Figura and Maria Rosalinda Lacsamana, chief accountant Marivic Jover, sales and promotion supervisor Belina Concepcion, and internal auditor Maurine Dimaranan.
Likewise, Napoles’ alleged erstwhile colleague Evelyn de Leon also pleaded not guilty.
Baterina himself did not go through arraignment on Thursday because he has asked the court to throw out his charges on the grounds of “inordinate delay” in the Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation.
His arraignment, as well as that of former Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Budget and Management Specialist Rosario Nuñez, administrative assistants Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare, was reset to Aug. 7.
The charges arose from the alleged diversion of Baterina’s P9.6-million Priority Development Assistance Fund allocation to ghost projects by Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc., which was linked to Napoles and De Leon.
Prosecutors claimed Baterina and former Energy Regulatory Commission chair Ducut, allegedly acting as Napoles’ “agent,” received P3 million in kickbacks.
Baterina is also accused of funneling another P24.3 million to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation, Inc. Both allegedly unqualified Napoles-linked NGOs were supposedly handpicked by the lawmaker without going through public bidding. SFM
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